Some training programs require that the department’s own faculty be involved in RCR instruction. NIH mandates, “Training faculty and sponsors/mentors are highly encouraged to contribute both to formal and informal instruction in responsible conduct of research. Informal instruction occurs in the course of laboratory interactions and in other informal situations throughout the year. Training faculty may contribute to formal instruction in responsible conduct of research as discussion leaders, speakers, lecturers, and/or course directors. Rotation of training faculty as course directors, instructors, and/or discussion leaders may be a useful way to achieve the ideal of full faculty participation in formal responsible conduct of research courses over a period of time.”
RCR-PS (Postdocs), BMS 214 (Basic Science Graduate Students), and the CTSI RCR course (Clinician and Social Scientists) are a necessary component of training in RCR. Please be sure to contact your funder to inquire about additional requirements.
In general, NIH requires several components of training in the RCR including:
- Required RCR training
- Refresher RCR instruction at each stage of training, or every four years (e.g., graduate, postdoc, etc.)
- Continuing informal or formal training in research ethics throughout the year
- The involvement of departmental research faculty in supplemental and continuing instruction in research ethics.
RCR Text Template for NIH Grant Proposals
Applicants also must describe the format they will use to provide continuing and ongoing training and instruction in research ethics/RCR throughout the year for each year of the trainees’ fellowship. These may be lectures, panel discussions, or colloquia providing refreshers on topics covered in RCR-PS, BMS 214, or CTSI, but they may also cover topics of specific ethical concern in the trainees’ field not covered by UCSF RCR training offerings.
NIH requirements highly encourage multiple forms of RCR training, including formal courses (such as RCR-PS, BMS 214, or CTSI RCR course), small-group discussions, and instruction by research training faculty members.
The NIH strongly suggest that RCR programs cover the following topics:
- Conflict of interest
- Policies regarding human subjects
- Mentor/mentee responsibilities
- Collaborative research
- Peer review
- Data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership
- Research misconduct
Duration of Instruction
NIH suggests RCR training that involves at least 8 contact hours between participants and faculty. Applicants will also need to describe the plan and duration of instruction beyond their chosen RCR training program at UCSF.
“Reflection on responsible conduct of research should recur throughout a scientist’s career: at the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, pre-doctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels. Institutional training programs and individual fellows/scholars are strongly encouraged to consider how to optimize instruction in responsible conduct of research for the particular career stage(s) of the individual(s) involved."
Instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and at a frequency of no less than once every four years. It is highly encouraged that initial instruction during pre-doctoral training occurs as early as possible in graduate school.
Individuals at the early career investigator level (including mentored K awardees and K12 scholars) must receive instruction in RCR at least once during this career stage.
Senior fellows and career award recipients (including F33, K02, K05, and K24 awardees) may fulfill the requirement for instruction in RCR by participating as lecturers and discussion leaders.
To meet the above requirements, instruction in RCR may take place, in appropriate circumstances, in a year when the trainee, fellow or career award recipient is not actually supported by an NIH grant.
Program administrators at UCSF ensure that faculty, students, and trainees fulfill and document requisite training in the responsible conduct of research and often serve as intermediaries between UCSF and funding agencies.